Remember the one about The Yorkshire Vet and the black swan with a problem pouch beneath her tongue? Or the one where Julian Norton administered vodka to cure the cat that drank anti-freeze?
Since penning his debut column in The Yorkshire Post’s Country Week last year, Julian has documented the everyday drama that is all part of the life of a mixed practice vet in rural North Yorkshire.
As regular readers of his weekend column will have learnt, being a vet who gets called out to farms at all times of day and night is no straightforward way of earning a living, but it is one that Julian explains with real enthusiasm, compassion and a sense of humour - 21 years into his varied career.
Now, his weekly tales have been brought together for the first time in the form of a new 52-chapter book entitled ‘The Diary of a Yorkshire Vet’. Published by Great Northern Books, it charts 12 months of Julian’s professional life as he encounters fraught cases, unusual problems and colourful characters both on the farm and in the surgery.
Julian first rose to fame as a co-star of the hit Channel 5 series The Yorkshire Vet in 2015 during his time at Skeldale Veterinary Centre in Thirsk - the practice that takes its name from Skeldale House, the former practice in the town where legendary vet and the author of the popular James Herriot books, the late Alf Wight, plied his trade.
A huge success, The Yorkshire Vet - featuring Wight’s apprentice Peter Wright as Julian’s veterinary co-star - and the programme is now into its seventh series. For Julian, who now works out of a practice in Boroughbridge, the show and his subsequent Country Week column are opportunities to promote the veterinary profession and celebrate mixed practice.
“I’ve really loved the opportunity to write about my work as a rural, mixed veterinary practitioner in North Yorkshire,” he said.
“Recounting the stories at the end of each week and putting them to paper has been an amazing experience and one I’ve really enjoyed. It’s allowed me to reflect on what has happened - a bit like writing a diary - the interesting clinical things but also, and more importantly for me, the human aspects.
“Every animal, be it a farm animal or a pet dog, cat, rabbit, ferret or alpaca, has an owner and the human story is usually more interesting. It’s a combination that has worked well in the past - Mr Herriot is testament to that!
“Hopefully this book - my third - is easy to read, interesting and fun. I’ve loved the response from people who’ve read my books so far.
“It’s especially great to be able to encourage young people and kids into a life or career with animals. Both my books and the TV show have enabled this. It’s very humbling when you think about it.”